NATIONAL Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director, Major General Debold M. Sinas yesterday said that nine of the 13 Caloocan City Police Station jail inmates who bolted the extension facility last October 22 have been accounted for with the remaining four still the target of a massive manhunt.
Sinas said that members of the Northern Police District headed by Brigadier Gen. Ronaldo Genaro E. Ylagan, with the help of other NCRPO units recaptured the nine following a non-stop manhunt operation.
He identified the nine as Harris Danacao; Reymark delos Reyes; Arnel Buccat; Reynaldo Bantiling; Hudson Jeng; Jovel Toledo Jr.; Justine Tejeros; Aldwin Joey Espilla; and Mark Oliver Gamutia. All nine are now under the custody of the Caloocan police.
Still being hunted are Martin Mama and Norbert Alvarez, both facing charges for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002; Gerry Mat Patilla, arrested for robbery; and Raymond Balasa, jailed for theft.
Caloocan City Police Station commander, Colonel Dario M. Menor was relieved from his post last October 23 and transferred to the PNP Directorate for Logistics on orders of Camp Crame.
He was replaced by Col. Samuel V. Mina Jr. who is yet to officially assume his new post since he is under quarantine, said Sinas.
“We acknowledge the help of the local officials and our residents who provided vital and accurate information regarding the whereabouts of the three suspects that led to their arrest. Just the same, we call for the continuous cooperation of our people to report significant details pertaining to the location of the remaining suspects and be assured that your identity will be highly confidential,” said Sinas.
Ylagan said that the nine were taken to the Caloocan City Police Station headquarters for documentation shortly after their arrest and will be transferred to the Caloocan City Jail.
The NPD director said that tracker teams from the NPD and the Caloocan City police are still hunting down the other suspects even as he appealed to their families to convince them to immediately surrender or face the full force of the law.
Philippine National Police spokesman, Colonel Ysmael S. Yu said a metrowide all-points bulletin has been raised alerting all PNP territorial units to be on the lookout for the escapees who were temporarily isolated to undergo confirmatory RT-PCR test after initially showing positive result in rapid tests.
PNP chief, General Camilo Pancratius P. Cascolan also reminded PNP line units to initiate rigid security measures in their lock-up cells and temporary detention facilities and to conduct a periodic security survey of all jails in their areas in the aftermath of the incident, Yu added.
The inmates bolted the Caloocan City Police Station lock-up facility by destroying the wall of the facility built to house lawbreakers who have tested positive for COVID-19, Sinas said.
The incident was discovered around 1:50 in the morning. An initial investigation showed that the escapees destroyed the wall of the toilet inside their cell which was not visible to the duty guard. The facility located at the Caloocan City Hall New Custodial Facility Unit-Extension was built to accommodate law offenders who have been showing symptoms of the virus.
Sinas said that the duty guards have been relieved from their posts and will be facing criminal and administrative charges for negligence and infidelity in the custody of prisoners.
The Caloocan City police extension facility was built to accommodate so-called Persons Under Protective Custody who have tested positive for COVID-19. Ylagan said there were 30 PUPCs inside the facility but only 13 escaped while the 17 chose to remain inside their cell.